Modeling Organizations

This is an undergraduate course I designed and taught with Rick Orlina in Winter of 2007 at Northwestern University.


This course begins with the premise that we are all modelers in the sense that we construct explanations in our heads to simplify situations in which we want to answer a question. These may be personal questions, such as, "What major should I pursue?" or "Is this the right summer internship for me?" They also may be questions about organizations, such as, "Should we change the company's employee compensation policy?" When we observe organizations, gather information, draw inferences, and attempt to predict future outcomes, we are engaged in a process of informal modeling. This course covers why and how you might convert such informal models and intuitions into more tangible, formal models you can ‘run,’ explore, or perhaps use to try to change some small corner of the world. Specific topics included the trade-off between exploration and exploitation, path dependence, the diffusion of innovations, and organizational learning. 

Download Syllabus